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National Worker Safety and Health Conference was a huge success!

National COSH ConferenceWell, that’s what we’d call a success. Last week, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health hosted its second-annual National Worker Safety and Health Conference in Baltimore, Maryland – and it was a spectacular event.

Approximately 300 participants – coming from unions at the local, state and national levels, worker centers, advocacy groups, family support groups, COSH organizations, and the federal government – gathered at the Maritime Institute to share their experiences and work together to advance the rights and protections for workers across the country. See some photos here. (Thanks to Henry Plimack for taking most of these excellent shots.)

The conference featured powerful speakers and presentations from OSHA’s Jordan Barab, the National Council of La Raza’s Clarissa Martinez de Castro, CWA’s Larry Cohen, the United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities, and more! (Click the links for videos.)

National COSH also awarded a number of health and safety activists for their impressive work in advancing the rights of workers. (Read the press releases for the awardees, and watch video clips from the awards banquet: Luzdary Giraldo, Carmen Martino & New Labor, Chloe Osmer, Tonya Ford, and the USW's Health, Safety and Environment Department.) 

The conference also included workshops on everything from “Basic Worker Health & Safety Rights Under OSHA,” to “Fighting Under-Reporting of Injuries and Illnesses,” to “Reaching ‘Yet-to-Be-Reached’ Workers” and “Young Worker Health and Safety,” to the Whistleblower Protection Campaign, to “Using Social Media to Promote Worker Health & Safety,” and much more!

U.S. companies should pressure Bangladesh factories to improve conditions

While many Americans spent this weekend polishing off the Thanksgiving leftovers and snagging items off holiday wish lists, garment workers in Bangladesh fought for their lives – and more than 100 did not succeed.

Over the weekend, a fire ravaged the factory for Tazreen Fashions outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing at least 111 workers and sending many others to the hospital to treat burns and smoke inhalation.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks for safe turkeys

Workers' Comp Hub website highlights advocate work

Have you had a chance yet to check out the new Workers’ Comp Hub website, launched recently by National COSH and the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI)? If not, don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time to explore this great new resource for injured and ill workers. 

The Workers’ Comp Hub website provides:

Health and safety concerns for Hurricane Sandy clean-up workers

Much of the Northeast is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, which bombarded the East Coast with heavy rain, snow and wind. But as recovery continues, there are some important health and safety concerns for clean-up workers and the public at large. 

Too many regulations? Where?

Temporary workers need more protections

National COSH was saddened to learn about the death of a temporary worker in North Carolina in an accident at a pita and bagel chip factory. Not only was the death itself a tragedy, but so was the fact that it was probably preventable. Read our letter to the editor submitted to the Winston-Salem Journal:

To the editor,

A temporary worker’s death at the Chipita America plant in Yadkinville (“Worker dies in accident at Yadkinville pita and bagel chips factory,” Oct. 17) is even more tragic because it probably could have been prevented.

Some highlights from the USDA's virtual office hours

We asked you to participate in the USDA's virtual office hours and ask the agency to comment on its proposed poultry rule. The rule would increase line speeds for poultry inspections from 70 birds per minute to more than 175 birds per minute -- or a bird every 1/3 of a second.

Here are some highlights from that chat:

It's time for the USDA to hear from us on the poultry rule

Have a question about the USDA's proposed poultry rule (which would increase inspection line speeds to requiring poultry inspections every 1/3 of a second)? There's a chat for that. Today at 3 p.m., Dr. Elisabeth Hagen is holding virtual office hours for the agency.

USDA’s proposed poultry rule puts workers’ safety on the line

A proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would increase poultry processing line speeds and remove hundreds of federal inspectors from poultry processing plants. The proposal, which would modify USDA’s poultry slaughter inspection program, increases the poultry line speed to an unsafe level and allows plant employees to replace federal government inspectors for certain inspection activities. 

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